How to Avoid Costly Social-Media Mistakes (and Protect Your Profiles)
[Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from "The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising," the 131-page report from DirectMarketingIQ. It includes nine chapters, from leading fundraisers, on channel selection, messaging, direct mail, e-mail, mobile, social media, multichannel renewal, multichannel testing and more. It also features eight multichannel case studies on successful campaigns. The following also features brand-new tips on how to protect your Facebook profile.]
Everyone makes mistakes. I’ve heard that phrase since I was in grade school — it didn’t make me feel better then, and it doesn’t now. Even though we know that missteps happen to us all, it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to you.
Ten years ago social media was fairly foreign to most of the population, and like with anything totally foreign, we are bound to stumble as we maneuver through this new territory. The good news is that during this learning curve, lessons have been learned.
Here are some lessons that you can incorporate to avoid making mistakes that many others have made:
- Be transparent. For example, if you take down someone’s comment to your organization’s Facebook page or blog, be clear that you, the administrator representing the organization, took it down and why you did it.
- Do NOT automate everything. We love it when something comes along to make our lives easier, but beware the cost. Automating postings to your Facebook and Twitter accounts takes away the human touch — you know, the social part of social networking. Learn what types of content your community wants. You may find out your Twitter following is interested in different topics than your fans on Facebook. Think of it this way, if people wanted to get all your information broadcast to them, they would have just signed up for your RSS feed.
- Have a policy. At this point there is no reason your organization should not have one in place. A policy helps protect your organization, its employees and supporters while still encouraging social networking. If you get stuck, or need some help getting started, there are several examples online (the Red Cross has a nice one) of both internal and external policies for social media use.
Another mistake is not protecting your online identity. This is a must-read article for anyone who manages a Facebook page.
Here are some tips to help keep your Facebook page safe:
- Always, always make sure you log out of a Facebook session when you are finished.
- If possible, avoid using shared computers (at Internet cafés, libraries, your friends’ houses, etc.) to access your Facebook account. Environments like this make it easy to become distracted and forget to log out of your account.
- Be extremely judicious about who you grant administration privileges to on your fan page. The more people that are administrators, the more risk that someone’s account will be hacked.
- Never check the “remember password” box unless you are using a computer that only you, or trusted others, have access to.
- Be cautious when using Facebook on your phone. Remember, if you lose your phone and someone finds it, that person will have access to your Facebook account. If you do chose to have Facebook on your phone, make sure to not leave your mobile Facebook sessions active. Instead, log in when you need to access the Facebook app, log out when you’re done and be sure you have password protection on your phone.
- Change your Facebook password every month. Create passwords that are complex, using numbers, capital letters and symbols.
This isn't meant to seem alarmist, but the risk is 100 percent real. Anyone who invests time and money into Facebook pages needs to make security a top priority.